18 of the Best and Most Famous Art Museums in the World

Exploring art is a cultural pastime that has been around for generations and is popular throughout the world. No matter where you are living or where you are traveling to, there is certain to be an art museum close to you. However, if you are lucky enough to live near one of these art museums, you should consider visiting soon and possibly even purchasing a membership so that you can continue to visit with each new traveling exhibition. There is so much to see that you could explore most of these museums all year long and still not see everything that they have in their collections.

Louvre France Flag

WHERE: Paris, France

WHEN:

  • Monday -- 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Tuesday -- closed
  • Wednesday -- 9:00 am - 9:45 pm
  • Thursday -- 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Friday -- 9:00 am - 9:45 pm
  • Saturday -- 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Sunday -- 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • The first Saturday of each month, the museum is also open from 6:00 pm - 9:45 pm and during this time visiting the museum is free.

WEBSITE: Louvre.fr/en/

Louvre

The Louve is one of the largest and most visited museums in the world. It is the largest art museum anywhere on the globe. The museum first opened in 1793 and was opened in the Louvre Palace, which was once a royal castle. The main entrance to the museum is a glass pyramid. This feature was not added until 1989. One of the most famous exhibits in the museum is the Mona Lisa which was painted by Leonardo da Vinci. In addition to this painting there are unique pieces from around the world including art from ancient Egypt and ancient Greece. There is also art from the medieval time period from different places in Europe.

National Museum of China China Flag

WHERE: Beijing, China

WHEN:

  • Open Tuesday - Sunday -- 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

WEBSITE: En.chnmuseum.cn

National Museum of China

The National Museum of China is one of the largest museums in the world. It is actually the third largest museum in the world. It is located close to the famed Tiananmen Square in Beijing where it covers more than 700,000 square feet. The museum was first built in 1959 when both the Museum of Chinese History and the Museum of the Chinese Revolution were merged together. The museum promotes the arts of China along with important information about Chinese history. There are more than one million pieces in the collections. The Museum is actually home to the largest piece of bronze in the world. The Simuwu Ding weighs in at 1,836 pounds. The museum is very large and is located in a four story building that sits on sixteen acres of land.

Metropolitan Museum of Art United States Flag

WHERE: New York City, New York, United States of America

WHEN:

  • (There are three separate locations, each with their own hours.)
  • The Met Fifth Avenue
  • Sunday - Thursday -- 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
  • Friday & Saturday -- 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
  • The Met Breuer
  • Tuesday - Thursday -- 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
  • Friday & Saturday -- 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
  • Sunday -- 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
  • The Met Cloisters
  • March - October -- 10:00 am - 5:15 pm
  • November - February -- 10:00 am - 4:45 pm

WEBSITE: Metmuseum.org

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Art Museum is also known as the Met. This spacious museum takes days to see the whole thing and is located on the eastern edge of Central Park in New York City. One of the things that is unique about the Met is that it is a free place to visit if you are a student in New York or New Jersey or if you are a New York resident. This means that you can visit as often as you like if you fall into these categories based on a donation only basis. Tourists who are not from the area do have to pay an admission fee. The museum was first opened in 1872 and is housed in a gothic style building. There have been quite a few expansions over time with this museum. There are hundreds of different rooms in the museum, each housing a wide range of different exhibits. There are over two million works of art that are found in the museum. Plus, if you have visited you are sure to have new exhibits all of the time thanks to their large selection of traveling exhibitions.

Vatican Museum Italy Flag

WHERE: Vatican City, Italy

WHEN:

  • Monday - Saturday -- 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Last Sunday of the month -- 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

WEBSITE: Museivaticani.va

Vatican Museum

The Vatican Museum or Musei Vaticani as it is known in Italy is one of the most unique museum experiences that you can have anywhere in the world. The museum is home to twenty two separate exhibitions that are each spectacular and unique in their own way.There are sculptures, paintings, and of course the famous Sistine Chapel that was painted by Michelangelo. The museum has so many things to see that it is hard to see them all in just one visit. Don’t miss the Raphael rooms which are rooms that were painted entirely by Raphael. There are a lot of Renaissance and medieval paintings in the museum, so many in fact that it has the largest collection of these in the world. Don’t worry though if this is not your preferred art style as there is really a whole lot more, including some ancient Egyptian art.

Uffizi Gallery Italy Flag

WHERE: Florence, Italy

WHEN:

  • Tuesday - Sunday -- 8:15 am - 6:50 pm
  • (closed on January 1st and December 25th)

WEBSITE: Uffizi.it/en

Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy is one of the oldest art museums in the world. This famous museum has been visited by many great artists hoping for inspiration and is a great place to visit when you are in Italy. Inside the Uffizi is the Palazzo degli Uffizi which was actually built in the 1500s for Florentine magistrates to use as their offices. There are many different exhibitions but the most famous and most visited are the Renaissance sculptures and paintings that you can find. One of the most famous pieces that you can see here is the “Birth of Venus” by Sandro Boticelli. Be sure to arrive early as you might find yourself waiting in line at this one since it is one of the most visited museums on the planet.

Tokyo National Museum Japan Flag

WHERE: Tokyo, Japan

WHEN:

  • Open Tuesday - Sunday -- 9:30 am - 5:00 pm
  • (closed Tuesdays when Monday is a national holiday)

WEBSITE: Tnm.jp

Tokyo National Museum

The Tokyo National Museum was first built in 1872. It is the oldest Japanese museum that is still in existence. In addition, it is the largest art museum in Japan and one of the largest art museums in the entire world. It is certainly an art museum that will not disappoint you if you take the time to visit. The museum features a wide range of different permanent exhibits and many traveling exhibits as well.There are many different art museums and museums within Tokyo but the National Museum is one of the best that you can see for unique art collections that you are not going to see anywhere else in the world. You will be so happy that you took the time to visit.

Brandhorst Musem Germany Flag

WHERE: Brandhorst, Munich, Germany

WHEN:

  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday - Sunday -- 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Thursday -- 10:00 am - 8:00 pm

WEBSITE: Museum-brandhorst.de

Brandhorst Musem

The Brandhorst Museum in Munich, Germany is one of the newest museums on this list. It was just opened ten years ago in 2009. It was originally opened to share the work of Anette Brandhorst and her husband Udo Fritz-Hermann’s artwork. However, today there are many additional pieces of art that can be seen in this one beautiful and unique museum. There are pieces of art from many famed artists including Andy Warhol. The building itself is a piece of artwork as well. It is a two story building that has a multi colored facade.

Victoria and Albert Museum United Kingdom Flag

WHERE: London, United Kingdom

WHEN:

  • Saturday - Thursday -- 10:00 am - 5:45 pm
  • Friday -- 10:00 am - 10:00 pm

WEBSITE: Vam.ac.uk

Victoria and Albert Museum

There is so much to see at the famous Victoria and Albert Museum that you have to visit it if you happen to find yourself in London. The museum is named after Prince Albert and Queen Victoria and tells you an interesting history while you are visiting. While many would consider this museum to simply be a history museum, there is so much more here for you to see. In fact, this museum is actually more of an art museum than most visitors even comprehend. This museum is literally one of the largest museums in the world and there are millions of items in their collection. It is a museum that is unlike anything that you are going to see anywhere else in the world.

Centre George Pompidou France Flag

WHERE: Paris, France

WHEN:

  • Daily 11:00 am - 10:00 pm, with some exhibits being open until 11:00 pm on Thursdays

WEBSITE: Centrepompidou.fr/en

Centre George Pompidou

The Centre George Pompidou was first opened in 1977. It has been a museum that is known for delighting guests from around the globe since its opening and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris today. The website is very helpful for planning your trip and even offers you a comfort chart each week that tells you which days have higher ticket sales and will likely have more guests. The building is very unique and part of the conversation that you are going to have as you explore this museum. There are cutting edge pieces as well as classic art in this museum that is full of whimsy and wonder. You can literally see all styles of art and a ton of information about the different artists who have works on display here. It is a great place to visit with your entire family.

Art Institute of Chicago United States Flag

WHERE: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

WHEN:

  • Friday - Wednesday -- 10:30 am - 5:00 pm
  • Thursday 10:30 am - 8:00 pm

WEBSITE: Artic.edu

Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the city’s most historic sites to see. Without even entering the museum you are seeing a piece of history and something spectacular. The Art Institute of Chicago is known as being one of the best art schools for aspiring artists from around the globe. This museum is a collection that has served as inspiration for up and coming artists for generations. The museum was founded in 1879 and has spent years amassing a huge unique collection of art that will help to inspire you, regardless of what you personal art preferences might be. There are more than 300,000 pieces of art in the collection and this museum is one that you will want to spend hours exploring because there is so much to see.

Hermitage Museum Russia Flag

WHERE: Saint Petersburg, Russia

WHEN:

  • Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday -- 10:30 am - 6:00 pm
  • Wednesday & Friday -- 10:30 am - 9:00 pm

WEBSITE: Hermitagemuseum.org

Hermitage Museum

Catherine the Great actually founded the Hermitage Museum which gives it a unique history of its own. She founded the museum in 1764. The museum is known for its art and cultural collections. It is actually home to more than three million pieces that come from around the world. This museum is one of the most famous museums in the entire world and houses pieces that you cannot see anywhere else on the globe. There are works by Rembrandt, Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Reubens to name a few. There are actually six large buildings that make up the campus of the museum, one of which is the Winter Palace which was a former winter home for some of the Russian emperors.

Guggenheim United States Flag Italy Flag Spain Flag United Arab Emirates Flag

WHERE: There are four different locations: New York, Venice, Bilbao, & Abu Dhabi

WHEN:

  • Sunday-Monday, Wednesday, Friday-Saturday -- 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
  • Tuesday & Thursday -- 10:00 am - 8:00 pm

WEBSITE: Guggenheim.org

Guggenheim New York

There are four separate Guggenheim locations around the globe. Each of these locations offers you a lot of amazing art and unique exhibitions that you can only see there. With four separate locations, there are a lot of different pieces of art that you can see depending on where you visit. There are countless exhibits from a museum name that you probably already knew before reading about it here. The Guggenheim offers both permanent and traveling exhibitions and allows visitors to see more continuously. If you are lucky enough to get to visit and see the Hilma af Klint pieces, you are in a for a real treat. These incredible works of art are not well known but offer a unique vision and perspective that challenges you to think outside of the box.

British Museum United Kingdom Flag

WHERE: London, United Kingdom

WHEN:

  • Open 7 days a week
  • Saturday - Thursday -- 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
  • Fridays 10:00 am - 8:30 pm

WEBSITE: Britishmuseum.org

British Museum

This museum is the largest in England. It has a wide range of different collections and features some of the most amazing pieces of art in the world. There are more than eight million pieces in all of the collections, many of which are some of the most amazing pieces of art that have ever been created. The famed Rosetta Stone that was carved in 196 B.C. is actually found at the British Museum. This is literally a priceless artifact that could not be seen anywhere else in the world. In addition to the Rosetta Stone, there is are many pieces of priceless ancient Egyptian artwork.

Hamburger Bahnhof Museum fur Gegenwart Germany Flag

WHERE: Berlin, Germany

WHEN:

  • Tuesday - Friday -- 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Saturday -- 11:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Sunday -- 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

WEBSITE: Smb.museum/en

Hamburger Bahnhof Museum fur Gegenwart

The Hamburger Bahnhof Museum fur Gegenwart is the Museum of the Present and a creative outlook on modern day art. It is one of the most renowned contemporary art museums in the world. It was actually opened in 1996 and has been a place where many have visited while visiting Germany. It is one of the most unique modern art experiences with a number of pieces that you might not see anywhere else in the world. The building that it is housed in is the former railway station. It houses some of the most famous pieces of modern and contemporary art and brings in a number of unique traveling exhibits each year. Here you can see pieces that were created by Kiefer, Beuys, Haring, Warhol, and Rauschenberg.

National Gallery of Art United States Flag

WHERE: Washington D.C., United States of America

WHEN:

There are separate hours for the gallery and the sculpture garden.

  • Gallery Hours
  • Monday - Saturday -- 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Sunday -- 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Sculpture Garden Hours
  • Monday - Saturday -- 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Sunday -- 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

WEBSITE: Nga.gov

National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art is a government owned museum that houses some of the most precious and well known pieces of art in the entire world. This collection is one of the most valuable collections in the United States. The museum has separate areas that house different types of art and the Sculpture Garden is a truly magnificent site to check out and see. Here you can see artwork from a wide variety of artists including Botticelli, Matisse, Monet, and Rothko. You are not going to have a hard time finding a piece that you can fall in love with.

Three Gorges Museum China Flag

WHERE: Chongqing, China

WHEN:

  • Tuesday - Sunday -- 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

WEBSITE: 3gmuseum.cn

Three Gorges Museum

The museum is another one of the newer museums on this list. This museum was built in 2005, so it is not the newest. One of the things that makes this museum so unique is that it not only features a number of different types of artwork from Chinese artists but it also features a lot of unique art and artifacts pertaining to the Three Gorges Dam and the process of designing and building the dam. One of the coolest things to check out is all of the unique calligraphy, money, and paintings that date back throughout different periods of time in China. A truly spectacular museum and one that will bring to life many of the mysteries of the orient.

Museum of Modern Art United States Flag

WHERE: New York City & Queens (2 locations), New York, United States of America

WHEN:

  • New York City (Open 7 days a week)
  • Saturday-Thursday -- 10:30 am - 5:30 pm
  • Fridays -- 10:30 am - 8:00 pm
  • Queens
  • Thursday - Tuesday -- 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm

WEBSITE: Moma.org

Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art is also known as MoMa. This museum houses collections of modern art and is considered one of the leading authorities on modern art while being the most influential modern art museum in the world. There are more modern art masterpieces here than anywhere else in the world. It contains works that were done by Monet, Picasso, and van Gogh among thousands of others. Many people are drawn to the Museum of Modern Art for more than just the art. In fact, many love exploring the building and the mazes of glass pathways that allow you to view art from a wide variety of angles. There have been renovations, most recently in 2014, there were special renovations done that allowed the museum to have 50% more space to show off art.

Moderna Museet Stockholm Sweden Flag

WHERE: Stockholm, Sweden

WHEN:

  • Tuesday & Friday -- 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Wednesday & Thursday -- 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Saturday & Sunday -- 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

WEBSITE: Modernamuseet.se

Moderna Museet Stockholm

The Moderna Museet is also known as the Museum of Modern Art and is found in Stockholm. This museum offers a unique look at a modern museum and is actually state funded. It is located in one of the most serene and picturesque settings of any museum on this list. If you are visiting, you will want to make sure that you have some extra time to simply walk around the area and enjoy the beauty that you can see. It was first opened in 1958 and later moved to the current location. There are many different types of contemporary art that are housed here. Here you can see work from Picasso and Dali. The museum is really home to quite the impressive collection. They have photographs that date back to 1840 and there are actually over 100,000. In addition there are more than 25,000 drawings and prints, and over 5,000 paintings and sculptures. There are so many pieces to see that you simply cannot see them in just one visit.

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